Monday, 21 December 2015

Older and Wiser? ( HKG to YVR )

Waking up as late as 6 am makes me cranky.  It's been 3 weeks of getting up at or before 5 and NOW, on the LAST day, I start sleeping properly, just to  have my  rhythm mixed up again tonight?

I try calling Grandma using Skype.  WOW. That  probably is the poorest WiFi connection in the last 3 weeks. She can't hear me at all.  Poor Hong Kong.  When I  try too call Grandma again, this time using the room telephone, I can't dial through to Canada but get the receptionist on the phone. I  have to leave them a deposit before I can make a phone call.  WHAT?  I've had rooms where they have to switch the line open, but NEVER have I been asked for a deposit.  It gets better though. The hotel has my credit card information from my internet book, but the receptionist insists that I have to come down to reception and make a CASH deposit before I can use the telephone.  OMG, POOR Hong Kong.

Used to being annoyed, nannied, patronized, and slowed down by ever-present rules and conventions in Vancouver, I have thought of Hong Kong for almost 4 years now as the place where things are made easy and obstacles are happily banned to hell.  My very recent experience in the other HK hotel makes me fear that this is a new general sad state of affairs.  Or maybe I have just been spoiled by the colonial-style kowtowing of hotel staff in Vietnam and Cambodia.  

Anyhoo, since my prime destination in Asia has moved East, it is likely that I will not much more of Hong Kong in the near future (I can see Alan lifting one or even TWO eyebrows).  The connection from Vancouver to Hanoi is both cheaper and more convenient (lay-over times and relative flight lengths) if the stop-over point is Seoul instead of Hong Kong.

Maybe it's the weather, but maybe it's the newly discovered different world that is responsible for another strange thing.  I've had breakfast and am WONDERING what to do. Every time before this one,  nothing could hold me in my HK room; I just needed to go explore.

But when I make it onto the streets, the feeling comes back. The musty smell of the air, the hustling and bustling of people working. Yes, that is a nice change from people aimlessly parading around in their LULU DEMON outfit with small dogs on their arm!

I head back to the Burnables Store to buy more incense and some Money to Burn.  It comes in all major currencies and most is issued by the Hell Bank, only a few bills are issued by the Bank of Heaven.

This raises several important questions:

1. Don't they have currency exchange in Hell?

2. Or is there a separate Hell for each country?
3. If you need money in Heaven, then maybe Heaven is overrated?
4. How much money do you need in Hell to buy your way out?
5. Is it wise to send money to people in Hell?   Is the triage system accurate?
6. Why ruin heaven by letting people who deserve to be in hell buy their way into heaven?
7. Wouldn't that just duplicate life as we know it?
8. So why did I buy Burn-Money for both Heaven and Hell?
9. Who said that you are allowed to ask questions?
Yes, 4 pictures of myself are overdoing it but I like my new colour ;-)
While I enjoy the view from the hotel's rooftop, an employee wants to see my room key.
They advertise the 'observation deck' at the front door.
My questioning the point of the room key check is answered by some awkward BS that so far I've only heard in Vancouver and Germany, something about following procedure but not being entirely clear about the real point of it.  POOR HK!

More evidence is provided by the simple steps to the water that I've used on every trip to dip my overheated feet into the harbour water.  NOT this time because NANNY has been here and installed a brand-new chain to protect myself from myself.  Please also note how the chain is installed.  Even my 97 year old grandmother could just step over it.  
On every trip I used to cool my feet in the water down there.  The CHAIN is NEW

my ride

The below-plane camera view somewhere over the Pacific.  Watching the landing on that screen is cool

The line-up for immigration at YVR is substantial. Most countries (ironically, Hong Kong is getting close) would be ashamed to have that many empty cubicles and such a long line-up.  Here come the usual questions.  Do you have friends or family over there? Nope.  A girlfriend?  Nope (A boyfriend would have remained undetected ;-).  What are you doing for a living?  When do you go back next time?  For Tet. What?  Chinese New Year.  How come you laundry lasted for 3 weeks.  Hasn’t anyone heard of sink laundry? I think immigration and customs personnel should rate BELOW used-car-salespeople in popular ranking.

I must have been believable because customs does not ask me for a secondary check and consequently does not discover the 2nd carton of cigarettes I'm carrying.  I think about deleting the above sentence for a second (smuggling admission and a portrait in the same post? Is that wise?  But then I swore not to live in fear and I leave it. No-one reads this blog anyway, and customs people strike me more as TV watchers ;-)

Skytrain. There is no train in the station when I get there but the Airport station has a total of 4 (four) Compass Vending machines.  In front of each of those is a line of foreigners trying to figure out the instructions that I as a resident of this city have often issues following.  The Help people that are supposed to help people through the process are chatting with each other.  If the trains doors chime without me having reached the machine, I am determined to just run the gate without ticket. Put up some more machines. This time I barely make it in time:

I walk through the train door the moment it chimes and the voice announces that the doors are about to close.
What can I say about being back in Vancouver?  I despise it.  Yes, I will get so see relatives and friends again, which will warm my heart, but the city itself will do its best to freeze it again.  Once I arrived here with Grandma in a plane high over YVR. We both looked out the plane's window and all I could say was "OMG, someone stole all the colours from the world overnight". I am forced to remember that when I look at these pictures.   There is something fundamentally wrong if the only COLOURS visible in a city are those of traffic lights and brake lights.  Even the friggin' cars are all shades of GREY!

If anyone ever wants to envision EMBODIED MISERY, they only have to look at the colours of Vancouver. And that's just the lack of colours.  Once you start adding the temperatures and traffic congestion, it is getting close to embodied HELL (IMHO; LOL).
Whoo, that was close. I manage to finish this post 5 weeks after the events depicted took place. About time too, I'm leaving for friendlier coasts again tomorrow ;-)

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